Crispy Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu


We’ve established a tradition for our wedding anniversaries in which I cook a classic on our fine wedding china (since it sits pretty 363 days of the year, on average). The dinner plates are an heirloom from Alex’s grandmother — we built the rest of the setting around its delicate gold detail.

To mark year two, this gnocchi recipe tastes divine and is absolutely feasible to prepare after work in under an hour. Gnocchi is Alex’s favorite, so I took it up a notch this time! The crispy pan-fried delicacy is game-changing when sizzled in butter for a just few minutes! And when paired with a rich red-wine lamb ragu, you’ll be floored by the combination.

Bon appetit.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
1 pound ground lamb
Salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (reserve 1 cup for another recipe!)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound frozen ricotta gnocchi
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pecorino, to garnish
Italian parsley, to garnish

1. Bring medium pot of salted water to a boil. Next to the stovetop, prepare a baking sheet layered beneath a cooling rack.

2. Meanwhile, in a second heavy pot (I love my Staub), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir continuously until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and turn up the heat a bit more, stirring until onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add ground lamb to onions and season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up lamb and stir until no pink remains, about 4 minutes. Add red wine and bring to a boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano. Stir and simmer at least 12 minutes and up to 30. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

4. Back to the gnocchi — add gnocchi to boiling water in two batches, watching carefully for dumplings to float to the top of the water. This should only take one minute, maybe two! Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place on baking sheet, keeping them separated to avoid sticking to one another. Once all are cooked, transfer 1/2 cup pasta water to simmering sauce, then discard the rest.

5. Replace pasta pot with a large saucepan. Melt butter over medium high heat. Add gnocchi in two batches, leaving untouched for 2 minutes. Flip. Add paper towel to the cooking rack and transfer toasted gnocchi to the paper towels.

6. To serve, add about a handful of gnocchi to a bowl. Top with 1/2 cup sauce, a sprinkle of pecorino and parsley.

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